NPR was talking about the US economy today. I heard so many people saying that the economy was in great shape, that 2 parent households are able to have a single person income, etc. A few people that called in disagreed.
Here is my stance: The economy is shit! I was laid off on 10/30/19, my company had a massive layoff and let go of about 75% of the workforce. I have been job hunting every day since then. I finally decided to drive for Lyft and Uber just to pay bills while I looked for a job because for some reason no one at Unemployment wants to be helpful.
I have put in over 1000 resumes, I have been on about 100 interviews and a few second interviews, plus phone interviews. Pretty much the only places that were hiring until this month were “Sales, Marketing, and Management” schemes. Finally, this week, a staffing agency picked up my resume, interviewed me, sent me to interview at the company I would be contracted to, they had me do an assessment and a second interview right then. A couple hours later I was told I have the job. Now I have to wait until the end of January for the training class to start.
So, this means the job market is down, at least for the things I have the skills, experience, and education to do. The general salary I found for jobs like mine want to pay $8 – $12 an hour. Some will pay a bit more but you have to travel further. This is NOT a living wage. I lucked out with the agency that snatched me up. I will be making $17 an hour for the next 6 months, with the chance to be hired on after my contract. There is also a lot of room for growth with the company I will be contracted to.
A friend of mine is fond of saying “if you want to know how the economy is doing, check to see if prostitutes are out on the street”. If you pay attention this is actually a really good indicator of the American economy. If the economy is bad you will not see them out. I’ve noticed over the past month of driving all over my city that there are NO prostitutes outside, not even on the unseasonably warm days we’ve had.
Unemployment numbers only count a person’s unemployment status for 12 months. If you are out of work longer than that you drop off of the unemployment list. Yes, there is still a wage gap. Yes, many Americans are still one missed paycheck away from homelessness. If you have student loans, you cannot get any type of government job, state or federal.
Hell, most companies want your last 10 – 15 years of employment history, residential history (do you remember all of these?), good credit rating, and a degree of some form. A lot of Americans do not have all of those credentials.
In conclusion, for the top 10% yes, the economy is fucking fabulous, for the rest of us, it sucks unwashed ass.